Yesteryear: Looking back at stories that captured headlines in the Ledger for March 2023

Compiled by Roger Matile and John Etheredge from articles published in the Ledger-Sentinel, Fox Valley Sentinel, Oswego Ledger, Kendall County Record, and historical information provided by the village of Montgomery.

March 2003

With the U.S. invasion of Iraq underway, Oswego Village President Craig Weber announced the village would seek to compile a list of Oswego and Montgomery area residents serving in the military. Weber said the list could be made available to community groups who might be able to somehow assist their families.

The Oswegoland Park District Board voted to award a contract totaling $271,875 to an Aurora firm to construct the 2.4 mile Grove Road Bike Trail on the south side of Oswego.

March 1998

Construction was proceeding on the Village of Oswego’s 1.5 million gallon capacity water tower in the Ogden Falls Subdivision located south of Route 34 and Route 30. In a related matter, village board members were considering painting the new water tower orange and blue to match Oswego High School’s colors.

March 1993

Work on a new Route 34 bridge spanning the Fox River in downtown Oswego began when contractors cleared trees from the river’s banks.

State Sen. Ed Petka, R-Plainfield, proposed legislation in Springfield which would end the state’s practice of killing condemned inmates by lethal injection. Under Petka’s bill, inmates would be allowed to choose death by hanging or in the electric chair. Opponents of the measure in Springfield branded the legislation as Petka’s “swing or fry” bill.

March 1988

The Kendall County Sheriff’s Department was in the midst of a crackdown on motorists who parked their vehicles on the sidewalks adjoining roads in the unincorporated Boulder Hill Subdivision. Deputies gave violators “courtesy tickets.” A department spokesman noted that state law prohibits motorists from parking on the sidewalks.

March 1983

Before a large crowd at the Oswego American Legion Hall, incumbent candidates for the Oswego Village Board defended their favorable votes on a controversial annexation agreement for the proposed 211 acre Fox Hollow Subdivision. A majority of the board voted in favor of the agreement in March 1982 even though village residents had earlier rejected the pact in an advisory referendum placed on the ballot by subdivision opponents. When fully developed, the project was projected to add 2,000 people to the village, which then had a population of less than 4,000. (Fox Hollow was later re-designed and developed as the Mill Race Creek Subdivision.)

March 1973

‘The Fox,’ the anonymous local environmental crusader who had captured headlines nationwide, struck again in Montgomery. The Oswego Ledger reported The Fox had dredged 40 gallons of dirty paint thinner that a local industrial firm had dumped into Gillette Creek and then used it to paint a section of an outside wall at the firm’s plant. Officials at the plant declined comment on The Fox’s handiwork.

In a unanimous ballot, the Montgomery Village Board granted permission to the village police department to buy an 18 inch carriage typewriter with money from a government grant. The typewriter was expected to cost $230.

Construction had started on an addition to Long Beach Elementary School in Boulder Hill. The school first opened in 1967.

March 1968

The Illinois Division of Waterways announced funding had been authorized for the construction of a dam on the Fox River in Montgomery. In a related matter, plans for a dam north of the Route 34 bridge in Oswego were also under review, the Ledger reported.

March 1963

Oswego School District voters approved a $1.4 million bond issue to finance the construction of a new high school on a 40 acre site along Route 71 in the village. The referendum passed by a 2-1 margin, 1,009 ‘yes’ votes to 507 ‘no’ votes. The Ledger reported the school district’s enrollment had grown from 700 in 1955 to 1,971 for the 1962-63 school year.

The Montgomery Village Board voted unanimously to annex the Blackberry Heights Subdivision near the northeast corner of Orchard Road and Route 30.

March 1958

From the minutes of the Montgomery Village Board meeting of March 3, 1958: “Clarence Coles of Montgomery Road asked permission to raise chickens the same as his neighbors and the board agreed it was alright.”

Rising enrollments had prompted the Oswego High School and Oswego Grade School district boards to place referendums on the ballot April 12 seeking funds to expand the high school (now the Oswego 308 Center) and East View Elementary School. The Ledger reported that over 150 area residents attended a forum on the referendum held in the high school gym.

March 1953

“Oswego suffering attack of growing pains” was the headline over an editorial in the March 12, 1953, edition of the Ledger. In his editorial, Ford Lippold, Ledger editor and publisher, noted Oswego Township’s population had increased by 424 residents between 1940 when it was 2,009 to 2,433 in 1950. Lippold also noted that 33 more dwelling units had been built in the township since 1950 and the growth was likely to continue. “It will possibly be some time before the growing pains subside,” Lippold predicted.

March 1943

The Record reported from Oswego: “The Main Café opened last week under the proprietorship of Mr. and Mrs. Howard Herren. They intend to maintain the same high standard of service set by Mrs. Wormley. The Herrens wish to thank their patrons for their interest and thanks the Oswego greenhouse for the bouquets and corsages given for the opening.”

March 1938

According to the Kendall County Record in March 1938, “The store building on the corner of Main and Washington [in downtown Oswego], recently vacated by W. J. Morse, is being redecorated in readiness for a new department store.”

In other Oswego business news, “Watt and Nicholas Voss, bachelor truck gardeners from Montgomery, have purchased the 13 acre field on the corner of Grove Road and the Oswego-Plainfield road and will set up business.”

March 1923

The Record included this report from Montgomery: “Sheep yards at Montgomery are crowded. The season is now on in full swing and hundreds of sheep are passing through the yards every day.”

The Kendall County Sheriff’s Office was attempting to enforce the national prohibition law. This report appeared in the Record under the headline, “Uncover Booze Joints.” The report reads: “Sheriff Barkley and his assistants uncovered one of the biggest stills ever found in this part of the country in one place and a large supply of beer and whisky in another in raids made on Sunday night and Monday morning. Sunday night the sheriff and posse visited Plano where they searched the sample room of Stanley VanKirk and the sandwich room of his brother, Charles VanKirk, better known as ‘Bumps.’ From these two raids, they garnered 80 cases of beer said to have been made in a Joliet brewery, and 14 quarts of supposed ‘real’ whisky.”

March 1878

“Miss Susan B. Anthony, one of the most celebrated of the strong minded women of the country, lectures in Oswego on April 1 at the Congregational Church,” the Record’s Oswego correspondent reported on March 28, 1878.